Gretchen Parlato and Lionel Loueke
Saturday, October 14, 2023 | 7:00 PM
PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.
Since the early 2000’s award-winning vocalist and songwriter Gretchen Parlato has justly earned a reputation as one of the most inventive and mesmerizing vocalists of her generation. In 2021 she released FLOR, a project honoring her love and admiration of Brazilian music and her first studio recording in nearly a decade. “This project is a reflection of a time of putting myself aside and being completely present as a mom,” says Gretchen. “I’m finally able to find the balance between artistic creativity and nurturing motherhood. My purpose has both a higher and deeper meaning. There is a story to tell, now… of who I am in this role, and how that is reflected in the music.” The album has earned Gretchen her second Grammy Award nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Featured on over 85 albums, and four as a leader, Gretchen received her first Grammy Award nomination for Live in NYC (2013) and a coveted 4.5 star review from DownBeat Magazine with the DVD hitting No. 1 on the iTunes best music video list. The Lost and Found (2011) received more than 30 national and international awards, including the DownBeat Jazz Critics Poll No.1 Vocal Album of 2011 and iTunes Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. Her 2009 sophomore release, In a Dream, was JazzTimes Critics Poll Vocal Album of 2009 and hailed by Billboard as "the most alluring jazz vocal album of 2009."
Photo credit: Lauren Desberg
Lionel Loueke is one of the most singular, compelling and innovative artists of his and any generation on the international scene.
A figure who embodies the music’s most creative possibilities. According to JazzTimes peers and elders deeply respect his individualism; his rhythmic capabilities and exhaustive harmonic knowledge. He is the ultimate original who has reached levels of individual expression that most artists can only dream of.
Starting out on vocals and percussion, Lionel Loueke picked up the guitar late, at age 17. After his initial to exposure to jazz in Benin, he left to attend the National Institute of Art in the nearby Ivory Coast. In 1994 he left Africa to pursue jazz studies at the American School of Modern Music in Paris, then went to the U.S. on a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. From there, Loueke gained acceptance to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, where he encountered his Gilfema bandmates Biolcati, Nemeth, Parlato and other musicians with whom he would form lasting creative relationships.
Praised by his mentor Herbie Hancock as “a musical painter,” Lionel Loueke combines harmonic sophistication, soaring melody, a deep knowledge of African music, and conventional and extended guitar techniques to create a warm and evocative sound of his own. JazzTimes wrote “Loueke’s lines are smartly formed and deftly executed. His ear-friendly melodicism draws both from traditional African sources and a lifetime of closely studying the likes of Jim Hall and George Benson, and his rhythmic shifts come quickly and packed with surprises.” After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Lionel Loueke was accepted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles where he had the opportunity to study his greatest mentors: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard.
Soon after his time at the Monk Institute, Lionel Loueke began focusing exclusively on nylon-string acoustic guitar, an instrument on which he’s developed a signature voice. Lionel Loueke released his first album In a Trance (2005) on Space Time Label, then three albums on Obliqsound Label as a leader (Virgin Forest – 2006) and with Gilfema (Gilfema – 2005, Gilfema + 2 – 2008)
His first release on Blue Note Label Karibu (2008), featuring the trio with Hancock and Wayne Shorter as special guests, won widespread critical praise. His sophomore release for Blue Note, Mwaliko (2010), followed up acclaimed Karibu offered a series of searching, innovative, intimate duets with Angelique Kidjo, Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona and Marcus Gilmore – artists and allies who continue to have a profound impact on Loueke’s vision as a bandleader.
Hailed as a “gentle virtuoso” by Jon Pareles of The New York Times, guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke follows up with Heritage (released in August 2012), co-produced by piano great and Blue Note label mate Robert Glasper. Lionel Loueke, long known for his nylon-string acoustic guitar, releases a more electric album. In 2015, Loueke chose to record Gaía, his remarkable rock-infused fourth Blue Note album, live in the studio with an intimate audience in attendance. Lionel’s album HH released in 2020, a tribute to his friend and mentor Herbie Hancock, was one of the most critically acclaimed jazz records of 2020.
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